Fred Taylor was back at practice, quarterback Byron Leftwich says the thumb on his throwing hand is "OK," and Jimmy Smith says all the Jaguars offense needs is one more weapon.
"Fred was out there. We got Fred back healthy and ready to roll," Leftwich reported of this morning's practice, as the Jaguars began on-field preparations for Sunday's season opener in Buffalo.
Taylor missed the final two preseason games due to a sore foot. The Jaguars hope, of course, Taylor will be full speed for the game against the Bills.
He is the team's star player. Taylor gives the Jaguars offense a big-play threat in the backfield, while Smith remains the team's star pass-catcher.
"We know we're going to run the ball. We just need that one other player," Smith said, referring to first-round draft choice Reggie Williams, who will start opposite Smith at wide receiver. Williams, the ninth pick of this year's draft, is expected to make plays and balance the opponents' pass-defense strategies.
"He's doing all of the things it takes to be a great receiver. He listens. Everything I see is positive. He wants the football. He's got to want the football. If he makes plays, he makes my job easier," Smith said of Williams.
"I've never been average," said Williams, who came to training camp with lofty expectations for his rookie season. For this Sunday's opener, Williams said his expectations are "to make plays and do whatever I have to do to help the team win."
They are the key skill-position players in the Jaguars offense and, of course, Leftwich is the trigger man.
"The NFL is not too big for Reggie. He kind of has the attitude I had when I came in. He has all of the confidence," Leftwich said of Williams.
Leftwich and the Jaguars' first-team offense struggled through a touchdown-less preseason that has ignited fan criticism before the season is a game old. The second-year quarterback, however, says he won't allow criticism to erode his confidence.
"I'm a fan, too, so I know how fans think. I was a Redskins fan and if Mark Rypien didn't throw a touchdown pass every time, I was (angry)," Leftwich said.
A couple of touchdown passes and a win against the Bills, who scored a 38-17 win in the Jaguars' home opener last year, would certainly win Leftwich some fans for the Jaguars' Sept. 19 home opener against the Denver Broncos.
The Jaguars will present their official injury report on Wednesday. That list will likely include tight ends Kyle Brady (finger) and George Wrighster (foot), and might include Taylor (foot). Leftwich is not expected to be on the report.
In other news, the Jaguars added two more players to their practice squad: Deryck Toles, a linebacker from Penn State who was in Atlanta's training camp this summer as an undrafted rookie; and Gabe Nyenhuis, an undrafted rookie defensive end who was with Seattle. The Jaguars will announce their eighth and final practice squad player tomorrow.